The Five Most Reliable Sales Strategies I know

By: Dan Kennedy on: September 13th, 2014 11 Comments

Selling is largely a science, meaning that doing precisely the same presentation x-number of times will predictably produce y-number of results.  There are proven, fundamental formulas for selling.  When you go into a “persuasion situation” of ANY kind, it is just plain dumb to “wing it”.  If you haven’t made a study of selling strategies and sales formulas, you should.  Here are five of the most reliable sales strategies I know:

1. BIG Guarantee – Nearly 30 years ago, I create the “free eyeglasses replacement” guarantee fora  small chain of stores, producing their most successful advertising campaign in their history.  The strategy was quickly picked up by Pearl.  You should never underestimate the power of a guarantee. (Tweet this!)

Tom Monaghan built his fortune and company on his USP “…in 30 minutes or less.”  I recently saw a billboard that advertised “Divorces in 30 Days or Less”

Lee Iaccoca introduced the 7 year/70,000 Mile Warranty to a shocked auto industry and successfully persuaded a turned-off public to reconsider and start buying Chrysler products when he said: “If you want to know who builds them better, take a look at who guarantees them longer.”  More recently Hyundai reintroduced themselves to the American quality-conscious public with their 10 year/100,000 Mile Warranty.

2. Something For Nothing – I’ll bet some of the richest women in the world go to the cosmetics counter to get the free this or that with their cosmetic purchase.  I once saw a commercial for a $50,000 car (expensive at the time) with which you got a free Coach leather “carriage bag”.

Rich, Harvard grads buy lottery tickets too.  Japanese millionaires choose which Vegas casino they’ll lose a ton of money in based on the freebies they get. NO ONE is immune to the lure of “something for nothing.”  In a No B.S. Marketing Letter, I reported on a consumer survey re. advertising where a whopping 73% of the consumers said “freebies” pique their interest in trying a new or different product, more so than anything else!

3. Apples To Oranges Comparisons – The last thing you want is a straight forward apples-to-apples comparison; you want to create your own “unfair advantage”. Egs…

    • Cost of a software package vs. x-hours’ of an accountant’s or lawyer’s time.
    • Cost of a physical or digital course vs. cost of a live seminar, plus travel to get there, plus hotel, plus food, plus time away from the business, family etc…
    • Cost of a monthly nutrition program vs. cost of a Starbucks coffee and doughnut each day.

4. Membership/Belonging – A significant percentage of people are “belongers” – they value membership and association, so the smart marketer finds a way to offer that benefit to that segment of their clientele.

Very few people go to Starbucks simply because of the coffee.  Some go because it’s convenience or it’s consistency, but the vast majority also go because of the positive associations Starbucks has created in their mind.  The best selling Coach and Louis Vuitton are the ones with their trademarked “C” or “LV” prominently displayed on the outside.  All three of these companies understand peoples need to “belong.”

The “inner circle” or “membership” is also an effective way to package goods or services together and sell a combination of services that would otherwise be difficult to sell separately.  You also automatically set up future renewable income.

Finally, it is a way to bond (bind) customers to you for prescribed periods of time and communicate with them in a more effective way.

5. Takeaway Selling – We are perverse; we want most what we cannot have and are often least appreciative of or interested in that which is easily accessible.  You see this working in many different ways.  In my business of speaking and consulting it is axiomatic that you must live at least 300 miles away to be considered an expert…speakers who move to a city hoping to capture convention business are usually disappointed, because nobody wants to hire “the local guy”.  There is the old Groucho Marx line, “I refuse to belong to any club that would have me as a member.”  And mine: nobody lines up to seek advice from the wise man at the bottom of the mountain.

I have significantly increased demand for my services, my fees, my income, and recognition of my expertise in the past five years, since getting VERY serious about “takeaway selling.”

It is my belief that “takeaway selling” should be in most sales pitches.

Even more powerful than these five strategies is…STRUCTURE.

Structure is very important in sales and copywriting.  People need to be sold in an orderly, organized, momentum-building manner.  There are certain “structures” that are very reliable, so why invent from scratch?

I strongly suggest using one or a combination of the formulas below EVERY time you create a sales presentation or advertising piece.

  1. Problem – Agitate – Solve
  2. Attention – Interest – Desire – Action
  3. “I predict…”
  4. Shocking Facts
  5. Guarantee First

P.S.– Get “The 10 Rules to Transforming Your Small Business into an Infinitely More Powerful Direct Response Marketing Business” for FREE. Click here to claim your customer-getting, sales-boosting tactics.

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    Dan Kennedy is internationally recognized as the 'Millionaire Maker,' helping people in just about every category of business turn their ideas into fortunes. Dan's "No B.S." approach is refreshing amidst a world of small business marketing hype and enriches those who act on his advice. For more money-making marketing tips, tactics and strategies, go to

    11 Responses

    1. KJ Singh says:

      Hey Dan!

      Awesome article!

      I’ve been following you through Frank Kern and read your “Unfinished Business” book and loved it!

      Just started reading The Ultimate Sales Letter and I’m going to start my own freelancing copywriting business.

      Wish me luck and thanks for this plethora of information!


      P.S.- I’m only 17 years old 😉

    2. Graham says:

      You add refreshingly different structure to sales capture process. Last week I presented my executive recruitment service to a large potential new client. I can see there’ll be a nest of new business there going forward, and the prospect could become a valued new client. They presently has a local service provider who’s not been delivering….so your strategies will be useful in adding an “edge” in promoting development of my service as preferred supplier.
      Thanks, Dan.

    3. Hi Dan — Just the other day, I was talking to a much younger colleague about how giving away content and products for free appears to be a dominant 21st century business paradigm (for some businesses, particularly online businesses) and that it did not used to be that way. And that it can make things tricky. Then, I remembered that in high school, my brother and I were “Fuller Brush Men.” We would knock on a door and then the housewife answered (way back in the 20th century – (A) it was invariably a housewife who answered the door; and, (B) they were not wary of answering the door when a stranger knocked — I would say, “Good Afternoon, I am your neighborhood Fuller Brush Man and I have a choice of gifts for you.” I would then offer her a choice of two minor gifts and, voila, my foot would literally and figuratively be in the door. Then, sometimes, but not always, sales would happen.

    4. Jay says:

      Such a powerful and elegant list of methods for selling. I will be using this as a resource checklist for every promotion, offer or sales system that I create.

      Thank you Dan. Again.

    5. Lee Tkachuk says:

      This was one of the best business blogs that I have ever read. It struck a cord in me, as I could relate to so many of the things you pointed out. Thank you for the common-sense-often-missed-because-of-that approach to things. Yours is the only blog (and everyone in GKIC) that I read every word, every time.

    6. This is a great post and I will be archiving for reference. I concur on all the points. I love the cosmetics example and it is true. I host online cosmetics parties and nothing get engagement soaring like giving away free makeup!

    7. David Hunter says:

      2. Something for Nothing: This reminds me of Harbor Freight’s ads. They all give away free products for nothing, nadda, zip! No purchase necessary. Every time I walk into a Harbor Freight their stores are packed, and I don’t just see everyone getting the free item… usually it’s the free item plus a cart full of supplies.

      I love PROBLEM – AGITATE – SOLVE. I just recently discovered this in your Make Them Buy Now videos series. I was used to the good ole AIDA.

      Thanks for the great information, as always!!!

    8. Emily says:

      Great sales tips. I’m sure at least one of these tips (if not more than one) can apply to any business. I just read a similar article about sales, but that dealt with holiday sales specifically:

    9. Thank you very this article Dan.

      You’ve done it again!

      I’m loving the “somehow for nothing” and membership/belonging points.

      Defiantly will be implementing these…

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